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snopes 25 April 2011 05:25 PM

Checkmate
 
Comment: I first heard about this painting on Dr. David Jeremiah’s Turning Point
broadcast that was rerun Easter evening 2011 for its poignant message.
Apparently, the painting is called "Checkmate." This story is from
Reverend Dr. Gary Nicolosi:

------------------------

One of the things a lot of people don’t know about World Chess Champion
Bobby Fischer is that his favorite hobby is visiting art galleries and
museums. Once while on vacation in Europe, he became captivated by one
particular painting called Checkmate. It was the picture of a chess game.
On one side of the board was Satan with a smug and sinister smile on his
face. On the other side of the board was a young man with tears running
down his face and sweat pouring down his forehead. He was biting his
fingernails. Satan was reaching out to make the last move. The young man
looked terrified. Apparently, he thought he had lost the game to Satan.


Again, the painting is called Checkmate. Satan smiled. The young man was
panicked. And as Satan reached out to make the last move, things seemed
hopeless for the young man.


After six hours of staring at the painting, Bobby Fischer said, “Bring me
a chess board.” He set up the board exactly as it was depicted in the
painting. After a few moments, he began to smile. “Young man,” he said, “I
wish you could hear me because I have some good news for you. Things aren’
t as dark as they seem to be. I have studied this game for more than six
hours, and I have discovered that it’s all right to allow the devil to
make his move. Because after he makes his move, I’ve found that there is
one more move on the board! Let him make his move. You’ll be the one who
says, ‘Checkmate!’ There is one more move on board.”

Lainie 25 April 2011 05:28 PM

Was this the Vienna Museum of Schlocky and Incredibly Obvious Religious Art?

Ryda Wong, EBfCo. 25 April 2011 05:30 PM

Wow. That sounds like a crappy painting.

And the artist hid the message (about beating satan) so well that it took a chess genius to point it out? Fail.

rujasu 25 April 2011 05:36 PM

When someone pointed out to Fischer that the game was only part of a painting and the person was not real, he stared blankly for a moment before going on a tirade about the evils of America and the Jews.

(Also: Six hours? What chess move takes six hours to figure out?)

Troodon 25 April 2011 05:39 PM

It doesn't take a chess genius to look one move ahead; there are probably only several dozen options that would need to be considered. I wonder if whoever wrote this has actually ever played chess.

Mad Jay 25 April 2011 05:39 PM

God gave us a way to beat Satan but made it so difficult that it takes a chess genius 6 hours to figure out. No soup for average people like us. Go to hell!

GenYus234 25 April 2011 05:41 PM

The description sounds more like a political cartoon than a painting.

To jump off Troodon's post, would a chess genius need a physical board to figure out the moves?

Ryda Wong, EBfCo. 25 April 2011 05:43 PM

No, no. He needed the board to show the man in the painting what to do!

Lainie 25 April 2011 05:46 PM

I'm less stumped by the idea of Fischer's needing a board to figure out the move, or even his failure to grasp that the man in the painting is not real, than by the idea that he would actually give a damn whether somebody else went to hell or not.

GenYus234 25 April 2011 05:47 PM

Couldn't he just tell him to move the horsey up 2 and to the left 1?

Also, can you challange the devil to other games?

Troodon 25 April 2011 05:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GenYus234 (Post 1451163)
Also, can you challange the devil to other games?

Sure, fiddling contests.

snopes 25 April 2011 05:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lainie (Post 1451141)
Was this the Vienna Museum of Schlocky and Incredibly Obvious Religious Art?

Yes, I believe the painting is in the Jack Chick wing.

Beachlife! 25 April 2011 06:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Troodon (Post 1451155)
It doesn't take a chess genius to look one move ahead; there are probably only several dozen options that would need to be considered. I wonder if whoever wrote this has actually ever played chess.

Agreed.

Chess champions play the whole came out in there head, he wouldn't have needed a board. But it does make me wonder, is he the king of the museum or something? Because who else just yells 'bring me a chess baord' in a museum?

GenYus234 25 April 2011 06:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Troodon (Post 1451167)
Sure, fiddling contests.

Technically, the devil was the one issuing the challange.

ETA: Which reminds me of a question I've had a long time about that song. Is the devil in the song one of the lesser devils, not the head devil? If he is sweating his quota, that implies that he has a boss to answer too.

chillas 25 April 2011 06:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GenYus234 (Post 1451182)
Is the devil in the song one of the lesser devils, not the head devil?

Well, you see Satan is very busy and can't really be everyplace at once. So he has a bunch of Satan's helpers who dress just like him and go out to tempt all the good little boys and girls into damnation.

ETA: And to play chess.

Gutter Monkey 25 April 2011 06:19 PM

There's a page here with a copy of the likely painting and a video of a preacher going through the story.

From this parable we can learn two things:

1) The preacher doesn't know how to play chess
2) God cheats at chess

Shnoops 25 April 2011 07:47 PM

There is no counter-checkmate* in chess. When the king is in check, the options are to move the king, block the check, or capture the checking piece. Only the capture lends a slight possibility to a checkmate.

I looked at that board, and no way is capturing the checking piece even possible for a checkmate. Also, i'm surprised it's such an amateurish looking game, but maybe Satan is merely toying with Faust?

*Meaning to counter a checkmate with a checkmate.

Lainie 25 April 2011 07:57 PM

Quote:

On display in the magnificent Louvre Museum in Paris, France, is that dramatic painting of Goethe's Faust. Faust is seated at a table engaged in a competitive game of chess. And at first glance, it looks like Faust is losing. His opponent in the chess game is Satan. The devil sits there grinning smugly. He thinks he has the victory in hand. He is pointing at the chessboard with an evil leer and he is gloating.
In the painting shown on that page, I see no one grinning smugly, no one leering evilly (is it possible to do both simultaneously?) and no one pointing at the chessboard. I'm not even 100% sure which player is supposed to be Satan.

Gutter Monkey 25 April 2011 08:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lainie (Post 1451271)
I'm not even 100% sure which player is supposed to be Satan.

I'm guessing it's the guy with horns sitting on the skull throne.

GenYus234 25 April 2011 08:21 PM

Bigot. :p

Are those horns? I thought it was the brim of his hat. I wonder if the placement of the devil on the left (sinster) is just a coincidence or is that a deliberate theme?


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